28 October 2016
The Alliance agenda
Ever wondered what life at the Alliance really looks like? As it's our very special 170th year, we thought we'd open up our diaries and let you have a sneak peek at what we've been up to.
With a huge focus on the Great Commission in 2016, our team was boosted by the arrival of a new role – evangelism resources coordinator. The plan began to shape, through conversation with others, prayer and preparation, to create a hub for some of the best evangelism resources in the UK, to equip, encourage and enable Christians to share their faith with those around them.
We held a second training day for church leaders looking to reach out to the millennial generation with our programme threads. The 30 leaders gathered were taught simple changes that churches can make to ensure their community is more effective at welcoming those in their 20s and 30s. The Northern Ireland Alliance launched 100 Days of Prayer, commemorating 100 years of history – "healing the past, honouring the present and hope for the future". The Talking Jesus research was presented by the Alliance team to 120 church leaders in Liverpool.
The Alliance helped launch and distribute the education resource, You're not alone, guiding parents through the education system. Our One People Commission were introduced to the plans for the Great Commission, and offered their specific insight and advice to the project, which was now being designed. Steve Clifford attended the World Evangelical Alliance gathering in Seoul, South Korea.
Our director of mission Gavin Calver spoke at Spring Harvest, after writing this year's official book with his wife, Anne. Later in the month, ahead of the London mayoral election, we gathered the main candidates with an audience of more than 500 to find out what they had to say on the issues that mattered most to Christians. Our Welsh office was busy with the Gweini North Wales prison conference, which was a day of reflection, equipping and encouragement for all those involved in prison ministry.
Ahead of the referendum, the staff in the London office heard from two staff members on very different sides of the debate. This was an internal debate for information purposes only – but it was a very enlightening lunchtime. Our Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland teams ran church hustings ahead of their national elections, which were attended by nearly 2,000 people.
Our special EU referendum edition helped churches across the UK engage in the vote on membership of the European Union, and we visited churches and events to talk about what a Christian vision for Europe, in or out, might look like. In Northern Ireland, threads attended the Catalyst conference once again.
As summer well and truly arrived, we organised a little party for those who work in our London office. We had food, drinks and a photobooth. We were joined by two new members of staff, our membership recruitment coordinator and public policy researcher. The Wales office organised the Waleswide church planting conference, and our directors attended and spoke at a whole host of summer festivals and conferences.
Our 170th birthday! We celebrated with cake and lovely wishes from friends. Our anniversary appeal launched, and we were so grateful for all the birthday gifts. We also worked with the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship to produce a guide to what the law says about your freedom to share the gospel, our Speak Up resource launched in August. Some of our staff decided to sign up for Tough Mudder – a 12-mile obstacle course. Training started immediately in the local park, causing aching legs and sore arms!
Our millennial project, threads, launched two new videos created for Instagram to show promote the site, threadsUK.com, as well as to be used by readers to show their non-Christian friends what faith looks like in everyday life. We also said goodbye to ourexectutive director: finance & services, Helen Calder, after 17 years of service. The birthday celebrations continued, too. We had current general director Steve Clifford and former general director Clive Calver in conversation at a special event at LICC in London. Later in the month our brand new Council met for the first time at High Leigh.
Our whole staff team from the four nations gathered in High Leigh, Hertfordshire, for two days of worship, teaching and inspiring for the year ahead. The month also saw the long-awaited launch of the Great Commission website. We held our Voice for Good public leadership training weekend during October, too, to help Christians provide a voice in public and to the media. This was helped by our new dedicated coordinator who joined the Alliance in the autumn. The busy month concluded with our unity initiative, Gather, taking a delegation to Movement Day in New York.
We will take our Speak Up resource to the parliaments and assemblies in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast to engage with politicians on the importance of protecting our freedom to share the gospel. To round-off the months of celebration, we will then hold a church service to thank God for His faithfulness over the last 170 years, and prayer for another 170! We will be joined by friends of the Alliance and people who have been crucial to our successful past. The Alliance is joining with London City Mission and Global Connections to run the Reaching the World on Your Doorstep conference, teaching churches in urban areas to reach out to those around them who might be from other faith backgrounds.
We will gather for our annual Christmas lunch, playing games and giving thanks to God. Party hats all around! We will also celebrate the knowledge that nearly 60,000 people have been visiting our website each month, keeping in touch with the latest Alliance projects, news from the UK Church and features.
It's been another great year – thank you for being a part of it through your prayers and support.